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09. Teaching Students Who are Blind or Visually Impaired (all grades)

General requirements

The program shall include the following:

(i) human developmental processes and variations, including but not limited to: the impact of culture, heritage, socioeconomic level, personal health and safety, nutrition, past or present abusive or dangerous environment, and factors in the home, school, and community on studentsí readiness to learn -- and skill in applying that understanding to create a safe and nurturing learning environment that is free of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and that fosters the health and learning of all students, and the development of a sense of community and respect for one another;

(ii) learning processes, motivation, communication, and classroom management -- and skill in applying those understandings to stimulate and sustain student interest, cooperation, and achievement to each studentís highest level of learning in preparation for productive work, citizenship in a democracy, and continuing growth;

(iii) means for understanding the needs of students with disabilities, including at least three semester hours of study for teachers to develop the skills necessary to provide instruction that will promote the participation and progress of students with disabilities in the general education curriculum.The three semester hour requirement shall include study in at least the following areas: the categories of disabilities; identification and remediation of disabilities; the special education process and state and federal special education laws and regulations; effective practices for planning and designing co-teaching and collaboration with peers; individualizing instruction; and applying positive behavioral supports and interventions to address student and classroom management needs. When such requirements cannot be completed in three semester hours, the remaining study requirements may be included in other courses. This three semester hour requirement may be waived at the discretion of the commissioner, upon a showing that the program provides adequate instruction to prepare candidates on understanding the needs of students with disabilities through other means;

(iv) language acquisition and literacy development by native English speakers and students who are English language learners -- and skill in developing the listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills of all students;

(v) curriculum development, instructional planning, and multiple research-validated instructional strategies for teaching students within the full range of abilities -- and skill in designing and offering differentiated instruction that enhances the learning of all students in the content area(s) of the certificate;

(vi) uses of technology, including instructional and assistive technology, in teaching and learning -- and skill in using technology and teaching students to use technology to acquire information, communicate, and enhance learning;

(vii) formal and informal methods of assessing student learning and the means of analyzing oneís own teaching practice -- and skill in using information gathered through assessment and analysis to plan or modify instruction, and skill in using various resources to enhance teaching;

(viii) history, philosophy, and role of education, the rights and responsibilities of teachers and other professional staff, students, parents, community members, school administrators, and others with regard to education, and the importance of productive relationships and interactions among the school, home, and community for enhancing student learning -- and skill in fostering effective relationships and interactions to support student growth and learning, including skill in resolving conflicts;

(ix) means to update knowledge and skills in the subject(s) taught and in pedagogy;

(x) means for identifying and reporting suspected child abuse and maltreatment, which shall include at least two clock hours of coursework or training regarding the identification and reporting of suspected child abuse or maltreatment, in accordance with the requirements of section 3004 of the Education Law;

(xi) means for instructing students for the purpose of preventing child abduction, in accordance with Education Law section 803-a; preventing alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse, in accordance with Education Law section 804; providing safety education, in accordance with Education Law section 806; and providing instruction in fire and arson prevention, in accordance with Education Law section 808; and

(xii) means for the prevention of and intervention in school violence, in accordance with section 3004 of the Education Law. This study shall be composed of at least two clock hours of course work or training that includes, but is not limited to, study in the warning signs within a developmental and social context that relate to violence and other troubling behaviors in children; the statutes, regulations and policies relating to a safe nonviolent school climate; effective classroom management techniques and other academic supports that promote a nonviolent school climate and enhance learning; the integration of social and problem solving skill development for students within the regular curriculum; intervention techniques designed to address a school violence situation; and how to participate in an effective school/community referral process for students exhibiting violent behavior.


Program-Specific Requirements


The program shall include the following:

(i) historical, social, and legal foundations of special education, employment and independence for individuals with disabilities;

(ii) characteristics of learners with disabilities;

(iii) managing behavior of students with disabilities and promoting development of positive social interaction skills;

(iv) participating in collaborative partnerships for the benefit of students with disabilities, including family strengthening partnerships;

(v) assessment, diagnosis, and evaluation of students with disabilities;

(vi) curriculum development and research-validated methods of instructing students with disabilities, including methods of teaching reading and mathematics and methods of enrichment and remediation in reading and mathematics;

(vii) at least six semester hours of study in teaching the literacy skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing to native English speakers and students who are English language learners. This six-semester-hour requirement may be waived upon a showing of good cause satisfactory to the Commissioner, including but not limited to a showing that the program provides adequate instruction in language acquisition and literacy development through other means;

(viii) use of assistive and instructional technology in the teaching of and learning by students with disabilities;

(ix) understanding the needs of students with autism, including, but not limited to, the etiology, prevalence, characteristics, and evidence-based instructional methodology for teaching students with autism, instructional design and supports to promote communication and socialization skills and skill generalization and maintenance; positive behavioral supports, functional behavioral assessments and behavioral intervention plans; collaboration between the home, class, school and community to ensure that students are supported in the general education environment; and knowledge of resources such as early childhood supports, respite care, state agencies, transition services and vocational rehabilitation services and parent support networks and associations that are available to support students and families;

(x) planning and managing teaching and learning environments for individuals with disabilities, including planning for and supporting students with disabilities in general education settings;

(xi) purposes and scope of ophthalmologic, optometric, and clinical low-vision evaluation procedures, major codes of Braille, and treatment options used with students with visual impairments;

(xii) use of devices to assist students with blindness and visual impairments, including assistive technology;

(xiii) methods for selecting the appropriate literacy medium or media for each student; and

(xiv) reading and teaching Braille.

Field experiences, student teaching and practica

         The program shall include at least 100 clock hours of field experiences related to coursework prior to student teaching and at least two college-supervised student-teaching experiences of at least 20 schools days each.

         The program shall include field experiences, student teaching or parctica with students who are blind or visually impaired and shall include experiences at each of the four developmental levels: early childhood, childhood, middle childhood, and adolescence, provided that student teaching shall include experiences at the early childhood or childhood level and also at the middle childhood or adolescence level.

         For candidates holding another classroom teaching certificate or for candidates who are simultaneously preparing for another classroom teaching certificate and completing the full field experience for that other certificate, the programs shall require such candidates to complete at least 50 clock hours of field experiences and at least 20 days of practica or student teaching with students who are blind or visually impaired.


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